Atlanta Hawks outlast Clippers, 107-104

Clippers lose again away from L.A., but coach thinks they're close to 'amazing run.'

Maybe Clippers Coach Doc Rivers really is "fine with the way" his team has played despite its having lost its fifth consecutive road game.

Maybe Rivers really does "like the way we're playing" despite the Clippers' having dropped a 107-104 game to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night at Philips Arena.

Maybe Rivers feels that way because the Clippers' back-to-back losses were to the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and a very good Atlanta team that has one of the better records (21-7) in the league.

And maybe Rivers feels that way because the Clippers have been in most of their recent games, leading the Hawks by 13 in the second half and losing after Blake Griffin missed a potential game-tying three-pointer as time expired.

"I actually like the way we're playing," Rivers said. "I think we're very close to going on an amazing run. I can feel it and I can see it. We're just not pulling them out right now. You just keep building."

The Clippers have played eight games in 13 days, including three sets of back-to-back games.

They are 3-5 over that stretch.

"When you factor in fatigue and how hard they are playing, I'll live with this team all day," Rivers said. "You can just feel it. It's coming. I don't know when, but it's coming. And when it comes, we're going to be in great shape."

The Clippers still have to clean up their defense. They have allowed over 100 points in each of the five road losses.

With five players scoring in double figures Tuesday — they were led by Blake Griffin's 21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, Chris Paul's 19 points and seven assists and DeAndre Jordan's 15 points, 22 rebounds and four blocks — they can score with any team in the NBA.

But they also have to execute better in late-game situations.

After Al Horford (20 points) made one of two free throws with 6.4 seconds left, the Clippers got the ball back. Paul inbounded it to Griffin, but Horford tipped the ball and there was a scramble for it.

Griffin got the ball and tossed up a three-point attempt that missed.

"Any time there is kind of a scramble, you lose focus of exactly how much time is left," Griffin said. "And I just tried to make a play. That wasn't what we drew up."

The Hawks started out shredding the Clippers defense, dropping 31 points on them in the first while shooting 56.5% from the field in the quarter.

Then the Clippers began to clamp down on defense in the second quarter, holding the Hawks to 19 points on 27.8% shooting.

But the Clippers' defense went away again in the third, and they gave up 31 points to the Hawks.

That was just another sign of how inconsistent the Clippers are on defense.

"I'm fine with the way we're playing," Rivers said. "It was a tough trip. I'm not going to overanalyze it. We lose a couple of games.

"Guys are tired and we played hard and we're in most of them. You're not going to win them all."

Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner

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